A great strategy for embedding sustainability into your business is to build a Green Team. The team will lead the charge in creating a green culture within your company, they’ll be an organized and focused committee that will be able to take ownership of green initiatives and put them into action. 

It’s not only a great way to kick-start and manage green initiatives in your company but also improves employee engagement. However, at the beginning it might be daunting to get one started – especially if sustainability is a new area of focus in your organization. 

What is a Green Team? 

A green team is a group of employees actively engaged in promoting and facilitating sustainability within the workplace. A green team might have a different name – such as eco-committee or sustainability committee – but their purpose is the same. 

Green teams often focus on two areas. First is planning and advancing sustainable actions for your organization. The second purpose of the team or committee is to educate other employees about sustainability and promote eco-friendly actions for them to take in their personal lives. 

Get the right people 

First you’ll need to invite those who are already passionate about sustainability. They’ll be a driving force behind every meeting and initiative, and will be able to inspire others with their passion. They will also already have an understanding of how to drive the process forward, and what actions are necessary and which will work for your organization. 

Not everyone on the team needs to be an expert on sustainability, some members will only need to show motivation to learn and make a positive impact. A green team should consist of employees from different departments and seniority levels. This ensures that all areas of the business are being taken into account and there is a diverse range of ideas and resources.  

Create an agenda 

In order to have a productive meeting, participants will need to understand its purpose and be able to consider any ideas or topics they would like to discuss ahead of time. An agenda will also help the green team to keep on track and make the meeting more productive. 

Outlined in the agenda should be the purpose of the green team; a discussion on meeting cadence and location; and potential ideas and goals for the team. 

Evaluate where your organization stands 

This is a very important step that will help you set-up goals and allow you to celebrate the team’s and company’s achievements. There are several frameworks that can be used of to evaluate the sustainability of your organization:

  • UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
  • UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights
  • Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Standards
  • Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB)
  • Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI)
  • OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Business Conduct

Define and prioritize your goals 

An assessment of where your organization stands will help you to begin to identify and prioritize sustainability initiatives. A strategy to gain momentum and engagement within the workplace is to focus on ‘low hanging fruit’ initiatives first. This could be something as easy as implementing an office recycling policy. 

As part of setting up these goals you should also designate ownership to individuals or sub-committees within the green team. This will give projects real momentum and ensure that nothing falls through the cracks. 

Celebrate Success 

A benefit of evaluating your organization and setting goals, is the ability to celebrate achievements by the green team. This will increase morale within your company, showcase the success and add additional oomph to green initiatives. 

You can do this as part of an annual company awards celebration, or by personal shout outs. Don’t forget to make any recognition of success personal and fitting to the achievement.